Native Hawaiians blockade historic palace to restore "Hawaiian nation"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The 'Iolani Palace, located in the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu.
Image: Jiang.

According to reports, a group of Hawaiian natives, referring to themselves as the "Hawaiian Kingdom Government" under leader Mahealani Kahau, entered the historic 'Iolani Palace Wednesday to allegedly restore the former self-governing nation, overthrown over a century ago.

At about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, an estimated 70 members of the organization padlocked the eight entrances of the palace, once the home of the Hawaiian monarchy, and peacefully occupied the property for about eight hours. Several dozen employees, volunteers and tourists were prevented from entering.

The protest ended peacefully by 2 p.m. following negotiations with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. No arrests were made, though the group vowed to return in the morning. "We will not resist, we won't fight, we won't be aggressive. But we'll be back for sure," Kahau said. "The Hawaiian Kingdom Government is here and it doesn't plan to leave. This is a continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom of 1892 to today."

The palace was constructed for King Kalakaua and later his sister, Queen Liliuokalani. The monarchy ended in 1893 and, in 1959, Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state.